California Code, Penal Code - PEN § 496e

(a) Any person who is engaged in the salvage, recycling, purchase, or sale of scrap metal and who possesses any of the following items that were owned or previously owned by any public agency, city, county, city and county, special district, or private utility that have been stolen or obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or fails to report possession of the items pursuant to Section 21609.1 of the Business and Professions Code, is guilty of a crime:

(1) A fire hydrant or any reasonably recognizable part of that hydrant.

(2) Any fire department connection, including, but not limited to, reasonably recognizable bronze or brass fittings and parts.

(3) Manhole covers or lids, or any reasonably recognizable part of those manhole covers and lids.

(4) Backflow devices and connections to that device, or any part of that device.

(b) A person who violates subdivision (a) shall, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, be subject to a criminal fine of not more than three thousand dollars ($3,000).

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